Category Archives: Local News


Measles Update

Inyo and Mono Measles update

Inyo and Mono counties public health officer Dr. Richard Johnson has issued the following information:

Current Situation
The latest data released on Monday, Feb 2, from this current outbreak of measles shows that there are 102 cases of laboratory confirmed cases in the US, with 92 of them in California. Ten counties have been affected, and most of the cases have been in Southern California, especially Orange, San Diego, and Los Angeles Counties. Six of the cases have been in infants less than 1 year of age, and 62% of the cases have been in persons older than 20 years of age, including a 70 year old. 39 of the cases visited Disney Theme Parks between Dec 17-20, 4 are employees of Disney, and for 29, there is no known source. Twenty of the cases occurred in persons who were household contacts of the initial cases, and there are now 3 cases transmitted in community settings – all 3 in Emergency Departments. Most cases are occurring in person who are un or under-vaccinated. There is no evidence of sustained transmission at the Disney parks, so visiting there is not considered risky.

What is measles?
Measles is an acute infection caused by the measles virus. Before the vaccinations became available in 1963, there were about 3-4 million cases each year in the USA, with 500 deaths, 48,000 hospitalizations, and 4,000 cases of brain inflammation. Although it is still common in most of the world, with an estimated 20 million cases and 122,000 deaths annually, it was declared eradicated in the United States in 2000. In 2004, there were only 37 cases reported, almost all related to US residents traveling overseas, or foreign visitors bringing it into the US. And then there was last year, and now 2015 looks to be worse.  Sure, someone most likely brought it from overseas into Disneyland, but that would have been the end of it had that person only had contact with a population that was adequately vaccinated. When measles gets into crowded places and communities of unvaccinated people in the US (such as people who refuse vaccines for religious, philosophical, or personal reasons), outbreaks are more likely to occur. These communities make it difficult to control the spread of disease and make us vulnerable to having the virus re-establish itself in our country again. That’s what we are now afraid is happening.
High measles vaccine coverage and rapid public health response are critical for preventing and controlling measles cases and outbreaks. The economic cost is huge. It is estimated that the investigations following only 107 cases in 2011 cost local and state tax payers $5.3 million – and in 2014, there were 644 cases!

What is the incubation period (time between exposure and getting sick)?
Once exposed, persons may get sick up to 2 days later, but will usually get sick after 8-12 days.
How is it spread?
Measles is one of, if not the most highly contagious disease on the planet. It is typically spread through droplets which survive and remain suspended in the air for two hours. It can therefore be “caught” long after the infected person has left the room.
When is someone contagious?
Persons are contagious for about 24 hours PRIOR to the onset of the prodrome, and 4 days BEFORE they develop a rash, until 4 days after the onset of rash.
What are the symptoms?
Persons initially have what is called a “prodrome” phase before any rash, which consist of fever (up to 105F), malaise/fatigue, a cough (which goes on for 10 days), stuffy/runny nose (coryza), and inflammation of the eyes (conjunctivitis) making them very sensitive to bright light. They may also have white spots on a red base inside their cheeks or on the roof of their mouth (called Koplik spots).
Two to four days later, a rash develops, which is red and blotchy (maculopapular), typically beginning on the head (hairline and behind ears), and then extending down the body to the legs, including the palms and the soles of the feet. The rash may last for a week. Persons who are immuno-compromised may not have a rash.

What are the complications?
Complications are frequent, and include:
Middle ear infections (otitis media)
Bronchopneumonia (common cause of hospitalization)
Laryngitis, tracheitis, bronchitis
Diarrhea and dehydration (a frequent killer in the 3rd world)
Death (one in 1,000 cases)
Acute brain inflammation (encephalitis)
Behavioral and intellectual deterioration and seizures 7-10 years later (subacute sclerosing panencephalitis – SSPE)

What are the facts about the vaccine?
The measles vaccine, commonly known as the MMR for measles, mumps, and rubella, is one of the most highly studied and safest vaccines ever developed. Measles vaccines have been used in the US since 1963. Since 2 doses were recommened starting in 1989, the number of cases has plummetted, with effectiveness at 97-99% in preventing disease among those who have had the 2 doses.
A study by Andrew Wakefield is credited with causing fear of the vaccine among tightly knit clusters of parents in high income areas, who believe that autism is caused by the vaccine. Although thoroughly discredited, the effect of this study lingers such that there are pockets in California where the vaccination rate is less than that in some of the poorest countries in Africa.

What should you do?
Most adults do not need to do anything. If you were born before 1957, it is presumed that you actually had measles, are are currently protected. If you were born after 1957, check your vaccine records. If you had a single vaccine, you are OK. If you are traveling overseas, a booster may be recommended – check with your healthcare provider or the Health Department for recommendations.
If you are <18 years of age, you should have had 2 measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) shots, and there is a 99% chance that you are protected. Infants receive the first dose at age 12-15 months, and the second at age 4-6 years.
If your child is not adequately immunized, I encourage you to discuss their status with your healthcare provider, and consider getting them fully immunized.
What will we do if there is a suspect case in our community?
If we have a suspect case of measles in our community, be assured we will take appropriate action to protect the community at large. This includes those who are most vulnerable in our community, such as infants too young to be vaccinated, and those who are immune-compromised and at risk for severe illness, complications, and death. Anyone who is un or under-vaccinated will be excluded from work, childcare, or school for the 21 days after the last possible exposure if the case is confirmed, in order to prevent secondary spread in our community.

inyo county news, mono county news, bishop news, measles

Singers Wanted!

Community Choir is Recruiting Singers

The Eastern Sierra Community Choir is welcoming new members as they prepare for the Spring Concert with director Chris Lanane. Music lovers of all ages are encouraged to join the choir for rehearsals in Mammoth Lakes and Bishop leading up to the concerts in May.
The Spring Concert will celebrate American composers and American choral music. Some selections include: “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor;” “Shenandoah;” “Elijah Rock;” and “Poor Man Lazarus” as well as a Moses Hogan piece entitled “Hear My Prayer” which is a tribute to Jester Hairston.
New members need not have previous choral singing experience. Enthusiasm and willingness to learn is recommended. Contact Chris Lanane for more information at or call 760 920-2520.
eastern sierra news, bishop news, mammoth news
Mayor Lembke, "We will rebuild!"

3.0 Quake Rattles Wilkerson

USGS confirms a 3.0 quake Tuesday

The US Geological Survey is confirming a 3.0 quake struck just minutes after 8am Tuesday.  The magnitude 3.0 quake struck at precisely 8:13am Tuesday and was located 6 miles south of Bishop.  Several residents in the Wilkerson neighborhood reported feeling the minor quake.  Residents reported feeling and hearing “one solid jolt” just after 8am.  Wilkerson resident and unofficial “mayor” of Wilkerson Todd Lembke was not at home during the tremor but did confirm that neighbors reported feeling the minor earthquake.  No damage has been reported.

Wilkerson "Mayor" Todd Lembke
Wilkerson “Mayor” Todd Lembke
Wilkerson "quake damage"
Wilkerson “quake damage”
Mayor Lembke, "We will rebuild!"
Mayor Lembke, “We will rebuild!”
bishop news, eastern sierra news, mayor todd lembke
photo by gary young photography

Alabama Hills Meeting

Alabama Hills Stewardship Group

– Public Meeting Announcement

The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, Inc. (a 501c3 non-profit organization), and the Bureau of Land Management’s – Bishop Field Office will be holding a public meeting on Tuesday, February 10th, 2015; regarding the future management of the Alabama Hills.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and take place at the Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Reservation – Community Center located at 975 Teya Road, in Lone Pine.  Turn east off Hwy. 395 on Teya Road (where Best Western / Frontier Motel is located) and travel 0.4 mile to the Community Center.
“The purpose of this meeting is to discuss ongoing stewardship actions in the Alabama Hills for 2015 and beyond” said Chris Langley, President of the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group.
The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group – Board of Directors and our BLM partners would like to solicit additional community input on two important subjects: Development of a master map (print and electronic) for finding key access and recreation information for the Alabama Hills Development on a new interpretive/educational plan for the area.  Draft proposals have been prepared based on public input from an initial meeting last November and additional feedback is now needed to finalize this new map and interpretive plan.
Anyone interested in providing input on these important subjects and learning more about the Alabama Hills; or volunteering their time to help with various projects in support of this incredible landscape, should plan to attend


lone pine news, eastern sierra news, alabama hills
Photo by Gary Young

Money Available for Downtown Bishop

New effort Targets Downtown Bishop Storefronts

From the Bishop Chamber of Commerce:  The Bishop Chamber of Commerce has heard from citizens, visitors, business & property owners that some downtown Bishop buildings might benefit from a little “sprucing up.”  They’ve also heard that money for capital improvements is often hard to come by and that’s why the Bishop Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to announce this new project!

Thanks to a generous anonymous local sponsor, the chamber is offering a grant program to pay for upgrades for downtown Bishop storefronts.

The Bishop Building Improvement Program (BBIP) will provide funds through a simple grant application process.  For the current 2014/2015 cycle, BBIP will allocate $7,500 to fund projects that may include paint, lighting, new canopies or awnings, signs or other cosmetic upgrades and repairs to buildings within the downtown Bishop commercial district.

Approved projects may be funded entirely or may be used with matching funds. Eligible applicants may be property owners or business tenants, with owner’s approval, located within the historic core of downtown Bishop.

Details about the program and application materials are now available on the chamber’s website Hard copies may be picked up at the Bishop Chamber Office – 690 N. Main and at Bishop City Hall – 377 W. Line Street.

For more information, contact the Bishop Chamber (760)873-8405

bishop news, bishop chamber of commerce, eastern sierra news

Bishop Community Concert

Bronn and Katherine Journey to Perform in Bishop February 24

Live On Stage, Inc. and the Bishop Community Concerts Association Announce Acclaimed duo as part of their 2014-2015 Concert Season

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (February 2, 2015) – Bronn and Katherine Journey, renowned harp / vocal duo, will take the stage for an excursion through classical and popular favorites at the Dorothy Joseph Auditorium located on the campus of Bishop Union High School on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.  Single tickets are $25 adults / $10 students.  For more information please call For more information please call The Sound Shoppe at 760-873-5991, or visit the association website at

Bronn and Katherine Journey, known to many concert-goers around the country as “the Gem of the Northwest,” have a repertoire as long as the highways they have travelled (35,000 miles in one concert season!). Although classically trained musicians, they present a varied program of classics from a variety of genres including Broadway, movies and Celtic.  Bronn is an exceptionally versatile harpist (he has performed the national anthem at Seattle Seahawks games) and is noted for his warm wit.  In addition to her vocal skills, Katherine is an accomplished pianist.  Follow this link to view a video featuring Bronn and Katherine Journey.

The Bishop Community Concerts Association has been presenting internationally acclaimed artists to the community since 1947.  This all-volunteer nonprofit organization is committed to enriching the cultural life of the Eastern Sierra through live performances.  Thanks to the generosity of Patrons and Sponsors, these concerts can be offered at affordable, family friendly prices.


bishop news, eastern sierra news, bishop community concerts
Pictured is the 2015 slate of Executive Officers of the Fair Board, 2nd Vice President Joanne Parsons, President Paul Dostie and 1st Vice President Rob Levy.

Tri-County Fair picks slogan and pie!

The Fair Board preps for 2015 Fair

The Board of Directors at the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fair met recently and got the ball rolling for the 2015 edition of their flagship event, the Tri-County Fair. The winning slogan was submitted by Joshua Hinson and is “The Tri-County Fair, where Culture and Heritage come together.” Fair CEO Sally Symons commented, “There were over 50 entries this year, and it was a tough decision. Once again our community showed great support for this wonderful tradition.”

Other decisions about the annual end of summer celebration include the Pie Contest Flavor, which will be Pecan. And, for 2015 the Party Barn will become the “Fiesta Barn” with a Carne Asada BBQ contest, On The Spot Salsa contest (done “Chopped” style) and tortilla and fry bread contests. “With any luck we’ll have some margaritas, beer and live music too,” commented Symons.

Fair supporters and participants should look forward to other new contests and classes when the Exhibitors Handbook comes out in April. “We are hoping to change a few things up a bit and involve even more members of our three counties in the fun of entering exhibits at the Fair,” said Symons. “I’m confident that there is a lot of untapped creativity and talent out there that we would love to give a platform to at the fair while honoring our cultures and heritage this year.”

The Eastern Sierra Tri-county fair takes place Labor Day Weekend, Thursday, September 3rd through Sunday, September 6th.

In addition to the fun of fair planning, the 18th District Agricultural Association also elected its 2015 executive officers. Serving as President is Paul Dostie, representing Mono County, First Vice President is Robert Levy of Alpine County, and Second Vice President is Joanne Parsons, representing Inyo County.

Pictured is the 2015 slate of Executive Officers of the Fair Board, 2nd Vice President Joanne Parsons, President Paul Dostie and 1st Vice President Rob Levy.
Pictured is the 2015 slate of Executive Officers of the Fair Board, 2nd Vice President Joanne Parsons, President Paul Dostie and 1st Vice President Rob Levy.


eastern sierra tri-county fair, bishop news, eastern sierra news, pecan pie
Members are (l to r) Susan Tonelli (ER), Heleen Welvaart (Med Surg), Denise Morrill (ER), Betty Wagoner (RHC), Anneke Bishop (OB), Kathleen Schneider (Med Surg), Christine Hanley (Med Surg), Maura Richman (OB), Cynthia McCarthy (ICU), and Laurie Archer (PACU).  Not present: Gloria Phillips (PACU), and Eva Judson (OB).

NIH Employees Organize Union

Northern Inyo Hospital Employees Organize Union

Statement form the Northern Inyo Hospital Union Organizing Committee:

Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants at Northern Inyo Hospital are organizing a union as part of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. We are doing this to maintain the care and safety of our patients, to retain experienced staff and nurture new nurses in a safe culture, to be involved in NIH’s financial stability, and to support the other employees at the hospital who are part of our team.

Northern Inyo Hospital is a community hospital with a history of great patient care. We frequently hear from patients, “I never get this level of care and attention down south.” We provide safe care with a low rate of infection and adverse events. It is an entire team of workers who provide this care, from the person that greets you at the front desk to the doctor making a life-saving diagnosis.

That team is under great pressure. Patient care needs and documentation requirements are increasing without an increase in time allowed to provide care. Having the time to hold the hand of a dying patient, to comfort a sick child, or to help a mother bring a baby safely into the world, cannot be measured in a cost/benefit ratio.

We have lost experienced caregivers because of the policy of terminating employees whose treatment for a major medical diagnosis like cancer extends beyond 16 weeks. Nurses have left because they were not allowed the scheduling flexibility to maintain a balance between work and family. Caregivers are wondering if they will have the financial stability to remain in this area where they have homes and families.

For the past decade financial pressures have been tightening on the hospital. Friends tell us they go elsewhere for care because of the cost locally. Our current administration is addressing our financial future in a proactive manner, increasing patient census, and cutting the cost of procedures and lab work. CEO Victoria Alexander-Lane’s proposals for a strategic plan have merit, but she has not had enough input from the caregivers who will be on the front line implementing changes in delivering patient care.

The decision to form a union was not an easy one. Northern Inyo Hospital is the last major employer in the county without a union to provide a voice for employees. We will be negotiating, not for special treatment for union members, but for fair treatment for everyone, with a guiding principle of maintaining excellent and safe care of patients.

 Members are (l to r) Susan Tonelli (ER), Heleen Welvaart (Med Surg), Denise Morrill (ER), Betty Wagoner (RHC), Anneke Bishop (OB), Kathleen Schneider (Med Surg), Christine Hanley (Med Surg), Maura Richman (OB), Cynthia McCarthy (ICU), and Laurie Archer (PACU).  Not present: Gloria Phillips (PACU), and Eva Judson (OB).
Members are (l to r) Susan Tonelli (ER), Heleen Welvaart (Med Surg), Denise Morrill (ER), Betty Wagoner (RHC), Anneke Bishop (OB), Kathleen Schneider (Med Surg), Christine Hanley (Med Surg), Maura Richman (OB), Cynthia McCarthy (ICU), and Laurie Archer (PACU). Not present: Gloria Phillips (PACU), and Eva Judson (OB).
northern inyo hospital, bishop news, eastern sierra news, victoria alexander-lane
Photo courtesy INYO County Sheriff

Black Sabbath Bassist arrested in Death Valley

Inyo County SO confirms the arrest of Musician Terence Butler

According to the Inyo County Sheriffs department, shortly after midnight on January 27th Sheriff’s Dispatch received a call regarding a verbal and physical altercation that took place at the Corkscrew Saloon located at the Furnace Creek Ranch property in Death Valley National Park.
After the Inyo County Sheriff’s Deputy arrived on scene and interviewed witnesses it was determined that there had been an argument that escalated into a physical confrontation – resulting in an individual allegedly being struck, and a broken window. Terence Michael Butler a 65-year old man from Beverly Hills, CA was arrested for misdemeanor assault, public intoxication and vandalism.
Butler was booked into the Inyo County Jail and released after detox and citation.  Terence “Geezer” Butler is the bassist for the band Black Sabbath.

Photo courtesy INYO County Sheriff
Photo courtesy INYO County Sheriff
inyo county news, eastern sierra news, inyo county sheriffs department
Sierra Nevada Red Fox Photo

Sierra Nevada Red Fox Spotted

Rare Sierra Nevada Red Fox Spotted in Yosemite National Park

Fox photographed with remote motion-sensitive camera

Yosemite News Release

Yosemite National Park is excited to report the first confirmed sighting in the park of a rare Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator) in nearly 100 years.  Park wildlife biologists had gone on a five-day backcountry trip to the far northern part of the park to check on previously deployed motion-sensitive cameras.  They documented a sighting of the fox on two separate instances (December 13, 2014 and January 4, 2015) within the park boundary.  The Sierra Nevada red fox of California is one of the rarest mammals in North America, likely consisting of fewer than 50 individuals.

 “We are thrilled to hear about the sighting of the Sierra Nevada red fox, one of the most rare and elusive animals in the Sierra Nevada,” stated Don Neubacher, Yosemite National Park Superintendent. “National parks like Yosemite provide habitat for all wildlife and it is encouraging to see that the red fox was sighted in the park.”

 “Confirmation of the Sierra Nevada red fox in Yosemite National Park’s vast alpine wilderness provides an opportunity to join research partners in helping to protect this imperiled animal,” stated Sarah Stock, Wildlife Biologist in Yosemite National Park. “We’re excited to work across our boundary to join efforts with other researchers that will ultimately give these foxes the best chances for recovery.”

The nearest verified occurrences of Sierra Nevada red foxes have been in the Sonora Pass area, north of the park, where biologists from U.C. Davis (UCD), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) have been monitoring a small Sierra Nevada red fox population, first documented by the USFS in 2010.  Prior to 2010, the last verified sighting of a Sierra Nevada red fox in the region was two decades ago.

The Yosemite carnivore crew will continue to survey for Sierra Nevada red fox using remote cameras in hopes of detecting additional individuals.  At each camera station, the crew also set up hair snare stations in the hopes of obtaining hair samples for genetic analysis.  Through genetic analysis, the park can learn more about the diversity within the population and to confirm whether the fox(es) detected in Yosemite is genetically related to individuals from the Sonora Pass area.

These Sierra Nevada red fox detections are part of a larger study funded by the Yosemite Conservancy to determine occurrence and distribution of rare carnivores in Yosemite National Park.  Thank you to all our colleagues who have been helping us with this project in many important ways (UCD, USFS, CDFW, Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center, Bureau of Land Management, and Yosemite backcountry rangers and volunteers).

Sierra Nevada Red Fox Photo

Photo Credit: NPS Photo

Yosemite national park, eastern sierra news, sierra nevada red fox